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3 Observations: Defensive Picks, O-Line's Ode to Jefferson

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings on Thursday concluded their mandatory minicamp by working through different downs and distances in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods.

Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell opted to move minicamp up a week earlier this year and send veterans with four or more accrued seasons into summer break early. The voluntary part of the offseason program is scheduled to resume next week with select veterans and rookies participating in the final wave of Organized Team Activity practices.

Here are three observations presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud LASIK Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:

1. 2 undisputed picks & a contested catch

Byron Murphy, Jr., may only be listed at 5-foot-11, but he went up and got one early in Thursday's practice.

Murphy showcased an elite jumping ability as he snared a Sam Darnold pass down the middle of the field that was intended for 6-foot-5 Josh Oliver.

The cornerback caught the pass cleanly and maintained it as he went to the ground.

Later in practice, safety Theo Jackson also recorded an interception over the middle of the field. Jackson nabbed a pass by J.J. McCarthy in a third-and-goal scenario.

In addition to the two undisputed INTs, Blake Cashman made his case for an interception when he got his hands in on a pass that appeared to be initially secured by running back Aaron Jones.

The contested catch, whether an interception or touchdown, was one of the odder and more impressive plays of the offseason.

Cashman also flashed on a blitz during the 11-on-11 period, streaking through for what would have been a sack of Nick Mullens.

2. O-line's ode to Justin Jefferson

It's not uncommon for Vikings offensive line coach Chris Kuper or players among the group to rock Justin Jefferson's line of apparel.

Not sure if anyone else on the planet needs convincing that Jefferson is a real one, but that ought to be another indicator.

On Thursday, however, the offensive line opted to pattern their practice-field look after elements they've seen the receiver sport during his first four incredible seasons.

Blake Brandel sported bright gold gloves and a visor, and Brian O'Neill opted for cut-off football pants and a sleeve on his right arm, as well as tension bands around the bottom of both knees.

The big fellas had fun on their final day together before next month's training camp.

3. All about the ball

The Vikings implemented circuit drills designed to help defensive players take footballs away from opponents. Three groups rotated through three drills.

One drill guided players through a series of three attempts at forcing fumbles, with a poke, a down swipe and a punch up.

There also was a drill that had linebackers and defensive backs make interceptions through traffic. It was modified for defensive linemen to get their hands up at the line of scrimmage.

The third drill involved having players react to tips to secure deflected footballs.